Feature Word: Marshall


an officer of the highest rank in some military forces


A logical assumption is that ‘marshal’ is related to ‘martial,’ but the resemblance is purely coincidental. Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few result from the 3rd-century Germanic occupation of France, and the early French ‘mareschal’ is one such word. ‘Mareschal’ came from Old High German ‘marahscalc,’ formed by combining ‘marah’ (horse) and ‘scalc’ (servant). ‘Mareschal’ originally meant ‘horse servant,’ but by the time it was borrowed into Middle English in the 13th century, it described a French high royal official. English applied the word to a similar position, but it eventually came to have other meanings. By contrast, ‘martial’ derives from ‘Mars,’ the Latin name for the god of war, and is completely unrelated.


Merriam Webster Dictionary - Word of the Day


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To engage in boisterous, drunken merrymaking.


16th-century English revelers toasting each other’s health sometimes drank a brimming mug of spirits straight to the bottom — drinking ‘all-out,’ they called it.

German tipplers did the same and used the German expression for ‘all out’ — ‘gar aus.’

The French adopted the German term as ‘carous,’ using the adverb in their expression ‘boire (to drink) carous,’ and that phrase, with its idiomatic sense of ‘to empty the cup,’ led to ‘carrousse,’ a French noun meaning ‘a large draft of liquor.’

And that’s where English speakers picked up ‘carouse’ in the mid-1500s, first as a noun (which later took on the sense of a general ‘drinking bout’), and then as a verb meaning ‘to drink freely.’

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